Shellie Zimmerman apologizes, walks away from perjury charges with no jail time

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SANFORD, Fla. —

Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor perjury on Wednesday but will not serve time in jail as part of the deal.

Zimmerman was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and one year of probation, and she had to write a letter of apology to Judge Kenneth Lester Jr.

Zimmerman faced perjury charges for failing to tell the court how much money she and her husband, George Zimmerman, had in their PayPal account during one of her husband's bond hearings last year.

George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder earlier this year in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Attorneys said Shellie Zimmerman accepted the lesser charge to avoid a felony charge that would have meant a possible five-year jail sentence.

Shellie Zimmerman spoke exclusively with WFTV reporter Steve Barrett as she left the courthouse.

"Are you relieved? And are you happy that you can pursue your nursing career?" Barrett asked her.

"Yes," she replied.

The defense and prosecution both said the plea deal was the right thing to do for a woman with no prior criminal record.

A felony conviction would have prevented Shellie Zimmerman from being a nurse.

"Her pursuit of her nursing career played a large role in this. A felony, even on a withhold, would have hindered that in great respect," said Assistant State Attorney John Guy.

Shellie Zimmerman's attorney, Kelly Sims, told WFTV outside that he appreciates the prosecution's cooperation, and that the deal does not mean she could not have beaten the felony count.

"I still think she had an absolute legal defense, and in her mind, she'd been told enough and I won't go into details by whom, but we have verification of it, she'd been told enough by folks to say, 'Wow, maybe that's not my money.' But, in her heart, if it walks like a duck and it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck," Sims said.